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Thread: Sick leave abuse

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    Sick leave abuse

    Hi all,

    I have a member of staff, already on 2nd written warning for unauthorized leave and not reporting his absenteeism.

    He wasn't at work on Monday. Tuesday I saw him strolling around town about two blocks from work. On Wednesday he sent a sick certificate with another employee. This to me seems like sick leave abuse, and is compounded by the fact that his doctor is in Paarl and he lives in Paarl. However the people that handles my labour issues don't agree. I haven't yet asked him what he was doing in Kuils River (45km from Paarl) as I don't want to reveal my hand...

    I'd like to get the opinion of the knowledgeable ladies and gents on this forum.

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    Step one is to phone the Doctor and either confirm that he was there or not there. If he was and had a valid reason then you can't fire him. If he wasn't it is a whole different ball game including fraud.

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    I was wondering whether I may request a doctors note from an employee who is often ‘sick’ on Mondays and Fridays.
    I’ve been told I cannot request a medical certificate from him because Monday and Friday are not considered as two consecutive days? As we are a small team his frequent absence often has an impact on our customers.
    I suspect he is taking extended long weekends and is determined to use up all his sick leave.
    A number of my colleagues actually see their sick leave as an extension of their regular leave entitlement and feel justified in being absent for the maximum allowed sick days in a year!!

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    Actually the reality is that a sick note is only required if the employee is incapacitated for more than 2 consecutive days.

    The employer need not pay him if he is absent more than twice in 8 weeks. That may be significant to you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CallyA View Post
    I was wondering whether I may request a doctors note from an employee who is often ‘sick’ on Mondays and Fridays.
    I’ve been told I cannot request a medical certificate from him because Monday and Friday are not considered as two consecutive days? As we are a small team his frequent absence often has an impact on our customers.
    I suspect he is taking extended long weekends and is determined to use up all his sick leave.
    A number of my colleagues actually see their sick leave as an extension of their regular leave entitlement and feel justified in being absent for the maximum allowed sick days in a year!!
    I recently attended an Industrial relations workshop at the RMI. It was said that you can insist on a sicknote for ANY days off. Not sure if that differs in other trades. Also need to keep in mind all my staff is part of the Sick accident fund that actually pays their days off not me. So my standpoint with that is "if I cannot send them a sicknote, they won't pay you"

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    CallyA (01-Feb-18)

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    Quote Originally Posted by HR Solutions View Post
    Step one is to phone the Doctor and either confirm that he was there or not there. If he was and had a valid reason then you can't fire him. If he wasn't it is a whole different ball game including fraud.
    I agree with this. As a medical doctor, I've had the experience of patients altering the dates on my sick notes, and this type of fraud is a problem I personnaly happily help to nip in the bud because if you don't draw a line somewhere, what other frauds will people start doing under my name?

    Legally speaking, a doctor should have noted down exactly how much sick leave he gave to a patient (not all doctors bother with this though). Some doctors make copies of their sick notes.

    So yes, do contact the doctor and ask them if sick leave was really given and for how long. You can maybe say that you are worried the sick note was altered/illegible/smudged and you only want to confirm the information that is supposed to be there. Legally, you can't ask for more information than that though (such as exactly what is wrong with the patient, and other things covered by doctor-patient confidentiality).

    Also, confirm that the doctor is actually a registered medical practitioner, there are fake doctors out there pumping out sick certificates. Ask for the doctor's HPCSA number if it's not on the sick note. Once you have the number, run it through this website: http://isystems.hpcsa.co.za/iregister/
    This will allow you to check if the registration is real and also active, and be sure to check that the details of the doctor, such as the name, agree with the registered information of the doctor.

  10. Thank given for this post:

    CallyA (02-Feb-18), Dave A (02-Feb-18)

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